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To build a bullet trap.. am I crazy?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by ls0n3, Jan 5, 2009.

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  1. ls0n3

    ls0n3 Member

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    I tried a search, this place is huge and didnt really find anythign other than in the creative ideas someone mentioned making a .22 bullet trap indoors but didnt go into details.

    Seems like the only bullet traps Ive found online are either the snail shell shaped ones for emptying your handgun at point blank range, or the $10k+ ones for actual ranges.

    Appreciate any serious thought on it or anyone who might have some solid experience with it. I feel like im trying to stop a bull with duck tape.

    Id like to make the bullet trap, to catch my own lead, without having to rely on trying to get tire weights, lino type, or having to buy my own lead/bullets.

    I'd like to build a bullet trap large enough to catch .45 acp lead bullets or fmj, while shooting at silhouette's. my silhouette's are about 44" high and 34" or so wide.

    Im guessing a 2 foot deep, 4 foot tall and 3 foot wide box should be relatively large enough to make sure I catch any relatively wide shots. i imagine nearly every shot at the targets will be inside 25 yards. With most inside 15 yards.

    Im debating about making a wooden frame. And cuting in roughly 1/4" wide grooves about 1.5" into the 4"x4" so I can side in 1/4" steel backing and side plates. Then having (3) 1/2" thick steel plates each at a 45 degree forward slanted angle. The top one would be flush against the rear. They would overlap about an inch, and the 2nd and 3rd slab would be about an inch from the rear. Hopefully to facilitate the lead bullets to gather at the bottom. The trough would be about 4 inches of sand to contain the lead bullets.

    The slanted slabs would be held in place by (4) 2"x2" 's, a pair for each side. I imagine I might drill holes thru them and the 1/4" steel plate and then use bolts and nuts to hold them in place. Id space them the 1/2" apart and ensure they were at the 45 degree angle, and then slide the slabs down them.

    Im guessing this is gonna be pretty heavy, and Id like it to be somewhat portable. Enough so that i could roll it on those large push mower wheels. So I can roll it out of my shed to shoot with it, then roll it back in. Maybe have 1.5' long legs on it or something.

    Anyways, this is just my first rough idea on the subject and Ive been thinking about it for maybe 2 weeks now, but tonight I tried to come up with some rough drawings and ideas.

    Any suggestions or know of anyone else who did this?
     
  2. average_shooter

    average_shooter Member

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    I talked to a guy who did something similar, though much, much simpler.

    He took a 55 gallon steel drum (like an old oil drum) and filled it with sand. He tapes his targets to that and just shoots into it. At the end of the range session or whenever the sand pours out too quickly he just wraps it a couple times with saran wrap. Every so often he empties out the sand, sifts out the lead to reuse, puts the sand back in and tops it off if need be.

    Might want to look that possibility if you haven't already, though I'm not sure if a 55gal. barrel will be of the dimensions you're looking for. However, I'd guess the barrel-o'-sand might be a fair bit cheaper than all that steel you're contemplating using.
     
  3. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    From what I hear, all you need is some hanging sheets. :) JK, sorry I'm not much help.
     
  4. ls0n3

    ls0n3 Member

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    Ive read that bullets only travel about 4-6 inches into sand from 25 yards or so with a fmj 45. The barrel idea isnt too bad. No chances of ricochets? yes it definitely sounds cheaper. Was thinking the steel might cause ricochets if quite a bit off center.. what about a plastic drum?

    I guess I could group barrels together.

    As is I prolly will have about 1,000 bullets worth of lead. So there wouldnt be a real need to make sure I could recycle the lead right away.

    What did he use to sift the lead out of the sand?

    I had only planned on having 4' x 2' by 4" or so of sand.. bit easier to scoop and sift haha.

    Appreciate the idea, Ill have to research those barrel dimensions. And figure out where I can get a few. Prolly the dump? barrels are about 34 inches tall and like 23 inches wide or so.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  5. ls0n3

    ls0n3 Member

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    ok re thinking the barrels of sand.

    after a few hundred shots, wouldnt the barrels start to get pretty torn up and sand would just start getting all over the place or pouring out?

    especially after 1000 rounds... I think of what the wooden boards behind my targets look like now after only 50-100 rounds..
     
  6. heron

    heron Member

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    I'm not sure that 1/2" plate will be enough to take .45 hits without getting dented up. In any case, building it strong and heavy enough is going to make it near-impossible to move (without power).
    If you want it portable, maybe build a cart with an old lawnmower engine drive on it.

    To collect your spent lead, just make a frame with some wire screen over it and dump the sand through that.
     
  7. average_shooter

    average_shooter Member

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    From ls0n3 (Post #5):
    From average_shooter (Post #2):
    ;) Keeps with the "cheap as possible" idea.
     
  8. ls0n3

    ls0n3 Member

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    55 gal plastic drums run around 50-60 without shipping. i imagine steel barrels run even higher. that is retail from online stores. Ill have to check locally or the dump
     
  9. shdwfx

    shdwfx Member

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    Go Bucks!
    For the win. :D
     
  10. amlevin

    amlevin Member

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    Years ago I used to travel for my company installing equipment in Alaska. I was working in a shop that had a portable bullet trap for "lunch hour". At Noon every day the doors were closed and the trap was wheeled out, placed against a wall and the fun began.

    The trap consisted of a tray about 6-8" deep. The "backstop" was a steel plate about 3/8" thick, mounted on the back of the tray, inclined forward at a 45 degree angle, and supported on the front by a couple of steel angles. The sides were parallel to each other and were there to catch any side splash.

    They shot .45's and .357's with no apparent damage to the back stop.


    If I were to build one today I would hang a bunch of rubber strips cut from material like conveyor belting so the bullet could go through but they would stop any backsplash from bullet particles. Hang the target in front of the belt "curtain". Size the trap accordingly so there is limited opportunity for a bullet to "miss".

    Than get ready to either field complaints from the neighbors or host lots of shooting parties.
     
  11. expvideo

    expvideo Member

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    Stack a few phone books together and grab a roll of duct tape.
     
  12. ls0n3

    ls0n3 Member

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    yea might be more simple that way... but wow.

    for a 45 degree angle, the box if I want it 4 feet high would have to be 4 feet deep.. and thent he peice would be like 5.5 feet by 3 feet, if i want the box 3 feet wide.

    ill have to see if that would be cheaper.

    Thanks for another idea.
     
  13. andcam

    andcam Member

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    Have you ever hear of the box-o-truth? I sort of use a similar method. I built a 1/2" thick plywood box 2' wide, 3' long, and 2' high with 5x 1/2" thick plywood/fiberboard baffles to make compartments inside the box and just filled the rear 3 compartments with polymer blast media (sand/dirt will work too). I only use it to test fire my reloads for weapons function here in my shop. It's stopped everything up to 7.62x54R. Maybe you could build something like this? If you're interested, PM me and I could send you pictures.
     
  14. daskro

    daskro Member

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    If you're going to shoot more than a few hundred rounds a year indoors, you will need to look into a ventilation solution.
     
  15. mgregg85

    mgregg85 Member

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    I've shot .45 acp at some pretty thin steel plate and it barely dented it. I can't recall the exact thickness but it was definitely thinner than 1/2". And this was FMJ from maybe 10 yards.

    If you used 1/2" steel plate at an angle I think you'd be fine.
     
  16. ls0n3

    ls0n3 Member

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    Nods. Its meant entirely for outdoor firing. I sort of like that idea.

    I will pm you.

    Yea ill have to keep on thinking. I had semi talked myself into barrels,, then it hit me... I got worried about of center shots and what if one was deflected by the outer areas due to the angled outsides of the rounded barrels... Thnk im definitely back to some sort of box idea.

    Appreciate the input!
     
  17. brooks

    brooks Member

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  18. ls0n3

    ls0n3 Member

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    26k. pennies!! now if I won the lottery, sure thing!!

    I need something a little more practically priced. Under $200!
     
  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The hardness of the steel is more important than the thickness. I think 3/8" or even 5/16" of hard plate would deflect pistol bullets into a bed of sand.

    There was a commercial econo trap made at one time. It was a box to be filled with coarse gravel. The rocks would not leak out through the rubber belting face but would break up bullets in short travel.
     
  20. proud2deviate

    proud2deviate Member

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    Around here, we get 'em for less than twenty. It'd be a shame to burn yard waste in something that expensive.
     
  21. proud2deviate

    proud2deviate Member

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    Around here, we get 'em for less than twenty. It'd be a shame to burn yard waste in something that expensive.
     
  22. proud2deviate

    proud2deviate Member

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    Around here, we get 'em for less than twenty. It'd be a shame to burn yard waste in something that expensive.
     
  23. proud2deviate

    proud2deviate Member

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    Around here, we get 'em for less than twenty. It'd be a shame to burn yard waste in something that expensive.
     
  24. proud2deviate

    proud2deviate Member

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    Around here, we get 'em for less than twenty. It'd be a shame to burn yard waste in something that expensive.
     
  25. moooose102

    moooose102 Member

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    i think the cheapest way, is going to be a barrel, whether steel or plastic filled with sand. the second least expensive way would be to just have a couple of dump trucks worth of sand brought in and shoot into that. then you would have a decent backstop at the same time. just sift through the pile every now and again to recover your lead. if you missed some, no big deal, it would still be there the next time, or time after that. if using the barrel idea, i think the best way of using it continually would be to wrap it with "shrink wrap" that they use to bind down loose packages onto shipping pallets. that stufff is tough! a couple of wraps with that, and you could shoot another 2-300 rounds for sure. by the way, there are a couple of places around my home that sell used, clean barrels for $10-20.00 each. plastic and steel. you might want to check around a while to see what you can find before paying big bucks for a new barrel.
     
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